Changing the World at Jesus’ Feet
“For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” Matthew 26:9, NKJV
Sara begins this chapter with a look at the world’s needs. She questions whether knowing these needs and her available time is the answer to the world’s problems. She discovers, though what is the true answer to these needs, friendship with God. Developing a deep relationship with God is the most important answer to these problems.
We all have at one time or another in our lives felt if we give to God then He will give in return. What we don’t understand is this is not His language but the thoughts in our own heads. How often do we respond to a need by placing a check mark by it in our minds? We do this often to feel good about ourselves as well as receive applause from those around us.
Sara brings up a good point for those who are parents. How would we feel if our children did the needed chores around the house but never wanted to spend the time with his or her parents? We know this isn’t how a family thrives. Spending time with each other and deep communication is the key to good relationships. As I was reading through this section my mind went to the Scripture in Matthew, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33). Our relationship with Him must come before we go out to save the world. Spending time with Him teaches us who He is and from this, we respond to the world’s needs around us as He speaks His wisdom.
Spending time with God doesn’t always come easy for us in the midst of life. Practically, Sara gave some tips to help us in this quest.
- Look at Him first thing daily
“My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up” (Psalm 5:3). Waking up and looking for The Lord’s Presence to comfort us and embrace us should never be taken lightly. We are blessed to be able to abide in His Presence. Spending time with Him should be a desire of our heart. Jesus’ desire was to awaken early and spend time with His Father first thing in the morning.
- Know that it’s okay to start exactly where you are
Beginning right where you are doesn’t mean having to go into your prayer closet and spend a whole day each week fasting and praying. Although, if this is where God directs you then you should obey. Allowing ourselves to feel beat up though when we don’t measure up to the super-spiritual giant you see at church each week is not what this is about. God meets us where we’re at. Those one-sentence prayers you speak out mid-morning or mid-afternoon is nothing to feel ashamed of.
Years ago I was praying one morning and feeling down about something. I had felt I should have stepped up in a situation when I hadn’t. I sat talking with God and whining like a two-year-old. He showed me a picture in my thoughts of a tower with many rungs on it. I saw myself climbing and striving to go to the top but then I saw The Lord sitting on one of the rungs and told me He was where I was. I remember the comfort I felt right then. He wasn’t angry with me, as my thoughts were accusing me. He wasn’t sitting shaking His head with His arms folded. Our Father in Heaven loves us and simply wants to spend time with us. He will meet us where we are.
- Allow Jesus to be our example
Sara’s word here for Jesus’ example is “tethered”. This word can bring different word pictures to each of us. Those of us who are still parents of children in car seats think of attaching the car seats to our cars in a secure way. Others may think of rock climbing and being tethered for security purposes to something which will prevent them from being a smashed pancake. In any picture, we have a sense of security as we are attached to something stronger and more secure. This man who was God Himself attached Himself to God by spending time talking with Him. It was what He did first thing in the morning and when He was tired at the end of the day. He went to Him out of a deep desire to be with Him. Are you moved to prayer out of duty or a deep desire?
How many of us can say as we examine our hearts that we feel better when we’re busy with the world’s needs? And even better when we’re getting noticed for our performance?
We can all say yes to this. However, we can know that as our hearts are exposed God WILL meet us there to draw us into a deeper relationship with Himself. This is the kind of love which will change us from the inside out if we allow it.
- Pray the Word out loud
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:17, KJV
The best way to live by faith is to speak the Word of God out loud. It drives it into our heart when the world, the enemy, or our own flesh is screaming the opposite in our ears. Sara uses an example of how important this is by telling us of a time when she and her husband were in Uganda trying to adopt two of their children. Things weren’t looking good. The circumstances were looking as if they might go home without these children. Nate; however, rose up in the faith he had in what The Lord had already spoken to he and Sara and spoke it out loud.
Speaking the word gets down into our heart by going into our ears. At the same time it is also spoken out into the spirit realm so that even the demons in hell will hear it. Nate and Sara were experiencing what many of us have experienced before, the word of God wasn’t simply a set of rules any longer. It became “living and active” in their desperation. Now, those two children are part of the Hagerty home. God’s Word and plans were fulfilled.
- Adore God
Looking to the maker of Heaven and Earth, how could we not adore The One who created us and loves us more than anyone else? As we look at God’s creationour hearts should be in awe and the praise within us should be spilling over. The world’s needs are overwhelming but when we look to The Lord first He will pour out to us all that He desires for us to know and respond in the way He destined us to do so.
- See ourselves through the Creator’s eyes
By spending time with The Lord, we will learn to accept His purposes for us in a way that allows God to be God and us to be the child He adores. The One who created you is the One who loves you best and simply wants to be with you. Sara says it best, “When we see God more clearly, we see ourselves more clearly.” The time we spend with Him is precious to Him and will cause us to desire this time with Him more than anything the world has to offer.
Sara quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his book, Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible, “The richness of the Word of God ought to determine our prayer, not the poverty of our heart.”
I pray each of us would respond to this chapter to make our relationship with God the most important thing in our lives and in confidence each of us will declare our friendship with Him.